Portuguese Cuisine

Portuguese cuisine is very simple. It is very filling and mainly consists of meat, sea-food and vegetables. 
Portuguese cuisine is unlike any other European cuisine. This happened so because the country was isolated from the rest of the world for some period of time. For the last centuries it has adopted much from Spanish cuisine as well as from India and the Far East.

Portuguese dining is a national ritual. Most citizens start their dinner at 12.30 and finish at 2.30 in the afternoon. Such cities as Lisbon and Algarve are almost empty at this time.

Bakalay

The main Portuguese meal is believed to be “bakalay” (haberdine). The Portuguese say that there are more than 400 recipes how to cook it; the simplest is a haberdine with potatoes on a top. All of this is thickly covered with mayonnaise. Codfish is considered to be the most suitable for the meal as well as for the whole Portuguese cuisine. It was counted that every Portuguese eats up to 16 kg of codfish a year.

Sopa de Pedro

One more true Portuguese meal is called “Sopa de Pedro”, which literally means a soup made of stones. It has a very easy recipe and a very interesting story behind it. According to a legend, this soup was named after one guy, who came to a wealthy but a greedy grandma asking for food. When she said that there was no food in the house he said that that was no problem as he knew how to make a soup out of stones. When he boiled stones he asked for a little bit of salt, paper, than he asked for a little piece of chicken, ham, potatoes. Sopa de Pedro contains all possible kinds of meat and flavors. It is a very filling meal so if you are not a big eater better share it in order to have space for Portuguese deserts.
Francesinha

This meal is especially popular in Porto, the city of fine wines and a beautiful architecture. Francesinha (little French lady) is a very interesting sandwich. It consists of 2 square shaped pieces of bread, a piece of ham, olives. All of it is covered with melted cheese and Vuster’s sauce. The sandwich is covered with this sauce up to the half of a meal.

Doces

Best Portuguese sweets are believed to be made in nunneries. The Deserts have interesting names like “heaven’s cookie”, “cloistress’ candy” etc. All sweets are made of sugar, yoke, marzipan and cinnamon. One of the most popular cookies is believed to be macaroon “bolo de amendoa” it is served hot with a sour cream.

Vines

World famous Porto vines have different types of red and white vines. Though they seem as light drinks even desert vines include 20 % of alcohol. One of the most popular and affordable vine is called Ruby. Old ones have almost 20 years ageing. One of the best is considered to be Tawny, which has a dark yellow color.

One more thing that you should know about Portuguese dining is that at the end of it everybody should take either “cafezinho” –espresso or “baqaceira” – a shot of vodka.